As our Save-A-Life event is in the past, we continue to look to the future to save the lives of shelter pets. Our new motto: "No Kill; Giving shelter pets a second chance to live and love." This will soon be a household phrase and what Animal Services is all about.
Our Palmetto shelter was very busy as the Save-A-Life event got under way this past weekend. Dozens of people looking for their new furry family member attended, even those just curious to see what this was all about. Several dogs and cats were adopted Saturday, a stellar achievement toward our no-kill goal.
The community pitched in by volunteering to walk dogs available for adoption around the property. The dogs donned "Adopt Me; Give Me A Second Chance" vests. The dogs showed off their personalities meeting and greeting all the visitors and potential adoptive parents. Some people went back home to get their current pets so they could check the compatibility with the new pet. Families spent hours, carefully selecting the pet found to be the best fit.
It was a joy for our staff to see so many happy people, smiling faces, wagging tails, purring cats, licks, barks and meows; all of them knowing they got "picked." Staff and volunteers had little bells they would ring each time a dog or cat was adopted. Both staff and volunteers want to have regular events like this, bringing a community together and opening up an awareness to those who do not know all the benefits that exist for pets and people. And, most importantly, that Animal Services is available to help. Animal Services staff are committed to our no-kill plan and possess that "special something" not found in anyone else. If you have just thought about stopping by, don't think about it any longer -- come in, look around, meet our staff and see for yourself.
At the event, I talked with people who had never been to Animal Services. Some didn't have room for another pet or couldn't adopt because their association rules wouldn't let them have a pet. But these people were at our event so they could mingle with the dogs and cats. I suggested they sign up to volunteer and explained the benefits of being friends with all our pets.
So, all in all, the Save-A-Life event was a huge success! It did more than save lives of some of the dogs and cats, it brought a community together. I can't thank our volunteers enough, even the Zirkelbach Grill Team, who came out to show their talents. Our staff worked hard to make this all come together. Dogs and cats that got adopted went to happy, loving homes and those that did not get picked will be happy to know they are loved by staff and volunteers just the same -- their new family just hasn't come yet.
Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.